As the first week of May comes to a close, LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds’ softball and baseball teams continue their playoff hunt with just a couple of weeks left to contend in the season while the men and women who wear the Black and Silver in track and field will compete in the league championships this coming weekend in Emmitsburg, Maryland. They enter their events with some of the top times in the Northeast Conference.
The LIU Brooklyn women’s tennis team is about to fly to Miami, Florida, for the first round of the NCAA Championship Tournament, which begins May 11. The Blackbirds will face the Miami Hurricanes, the No. 16 seed, at their home court. The Black and Silver earned the NCAA bid for the second year in a row as the Northeast Conference champions.
“They dominated this year,” said Casey Snedecor, LIU Brooklyn’s director of media relations and assistant athletic director.
The Blackbirds tied a program record with 17 wins, and managed only four losses in dual matches this season. LIU shutout 10 of the teams they faced this season, and went 7-0 against teams in the NEC.
Their domination of the league was reflected in the postseason awards, as the Blackbirds had 13 different honors bestowed on the squad, which has no graduating seniors.
Junior Anna Grigoryan, the NEC Tournament MVP, was unanimously named the Northeast Conference Player of the Year for the second year in a row, while head coach Anthony Davison was named the NEC’s Coach of the Year for the second time—and he only started two years ago. Sophomore Jessica Brzozowska was named first-team All-NEC in both singles and doubles. She was also named to the NEC All-Tournament Team. Sophomore Clemence Krug earned a spot on the All-Tournament team, because her singles win clinched the championship for LIU.
Sophomore Jennifer Gogova and junior Malin Leysen both earned first-team All-NEC honors in singles and second-team honors in doubles, while sophomores Ana Leonte and Sasha Bollweg earned first-team All-NEC honors in doubles. Bollweg, last year’s NEC Rookie of the Year, was also named second-team All-NEC in singles.
If the Blackbirds come off the court with a win on Saturday, they get to play round two in Miami on Sunday. The 2018 NCAA Division 1 team championships will run from May 17-22 at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The LIU Brooklyn softball team capped their last weekend at home with two of the three top weekly honors in the Northeast Conference, as senior Angie Vazquez was named NEC Player of the Week, and freshman Victoria Lowe was named the NEC’s Rookie of the Week. It’s the first weekly honor for both Blackbirds.
The LIU Brooklyn Baseball team (22-19, 10-7 NEC) starts a hugely fateful four-game series on their home field against NEC rival Wagner at LIU Field, starting May 4. The Seahawks (30-12, 15-3) have won seven straight games coming into Brooklyn and currently lead the NEC standings by percentage points over second-place Bryant. The Blackbirds play a double header on Saturday and the fourth game on Sunday. They’re hoping for their first NEC playoff appearance since 2013.
Saturday’s double header will have special significance for the Blackbirds, regardless of the action on the diamond or the results on the scoreboard.
According to head coach Dan Pirillo (Brooklyn ’08), LIU Brooklyn will retire the #10 jersey of legendary head coach Frank Giannone (Brooklyn ’74) in between the games of the doubleheader with Wagner. Giannone led the baseball team for 29 seasons from 1977-2004. During Giannone’s tenure, he registered 544 wins as well as a share of five conference titles.
On May 5, the first pitch will be at 1:00 p.m., with the gates opening at 12:00 p.m. Refreshments for alumni and special guests will be served in the right field bleachers. The on-field ceremony honoring Giannone will begin promptly following the conclusion of the first seven-inning game.
For more information, go to the official athletics site of the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds.